Subject: Re: [Freesw] Re: FreeDevelopers
From: Nick Jennings <>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 15:22:57 -0800

On Sun, Mar 25, 2001 at 07:49:11AM -0800, Glen Starchman wrote:
> Playing the devil's advocate for a minute... why should a software developer
> use a GPL when they are charging for their software when that opens up the
> possibility that the organization they are selling to can make a few
> modifications and resell the software to others? Or, worse yet, from a
> financial standpoint, *give away* the derivative software? 
> Here's another example: I create a wonderful new widget using gcc, ld, etc... I
> have done it mostly for fun and have whimsically given it a GPL. Now, company X
> wants to buy the rights to said widget, but they don't want to have to release
> the source changes they might make when they sell a commercial version. What
> happens? Am I screwed? (this is a theoretical situation).

   If you had released this code BSD, the company would just take the 
   code and not even think twice. In fact, company X wouldn't want to
   "buy the rights" to your code, unless your code was closed source.
   It's a very unrealistic example. 

> In my eyes, there are definitely areas for commercial (I tend to prefer that
> phrase to proprietary) software. Oracle is never going to be a free software
> product (meaning free as in freedom, not financial), but Oracle in a lot of
> situations is a preferred tool compared to Postgres or MySQL. Maybe someday
> MySQL or Postgres will have some of the advanced Oracle features, I would love
> to see that but I am not going to hold my breath.
> On the other hand, 75%+ of the software I use is GPLed with the majority of the
> rest being either Mozilla or BSDed. But, should I not use Python because its
> license doesn't care one way or another if I create commercial (eg,
> proprietary) software? 
> In my opinion, Tony, there is no need for this to be a holy war. It's a war of
> choice, and the consumer deserves the right to choose between commercial and
> free software. The majority of *users* out there could give a flying crap if
> the product they have is bundled with source code. In fact, most of them will
> probably resent the space it takes up on their drives.  All a user wants is
> stability, ease-of-use, and power (in that order). Until some free software
> product offers the same functionality and integration with the WinOS, people
> will continue to use Outlook... in fact, they will continue to use Outlook
> *after* this uber free software  Outlook clone is released. 

   Yes, *however*, many end users are becoming more and more "aware of their
   surrounding" so to speak. In that they may realize that some programs,
   because of their open-source roots, tend to be more stable, and more
   powerfull. Although many aren't, I think that as time goes on, more
   and more open-source projects will get the status of Apache/Linux/BSD
   etc. as being the "best / stablest / most powerfull " etc. etc.

   If these users, more and more, begin to use open-source software,
   the developers, in turn, will find their need increasing more and
   more. The more the demand, the more a chance for making money.

> Free software (and open source, for that matter) are geared more towards the
> developer than the consumer, in my opinion. 

  Nick Jennings            |  "Laugh, and the world ignores you.   |    Crying doesn't help either."